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Volume 2 of The Cambridge History of Global Migrations presents an authoritative overview of the various continuities and changes in migration and globalization from the 1800s to the present day. Despite revolutionary changes in communication technologies, the growing accessibility of long-distance travel, and globalization across major economies, the rise of nation-states empowered immigration regulation and bureaucratic capacities for enforcement that curtailed migration. One major theme worldwide across the post-1800 centuries was the differentiation between “skilled” and “unskilled” workers, often considered through a racialized lens; it emerged as the primary divide between greater rights of immigration and citizenship for the former, and confinement to temporary or unauthorized migrant status for the latter. Through thirty-one chapters, this volume further evaluates the long global history of migration; and it shows that despite the increased disciplinary systems, the primacy of migration remains and continues to shape political, economic, and social landscapes around the world.
This essay aims to address the structural barriers that deter the study of “Global Asias”—or even something smaller in scale, the study of the “Pacific”—in the context of the institutional split between Asian studies and Asian American studies.
Focusing on intersections of Asian area studies and U.S. ethnic studies, this article probes overlapping but hitherto neglected trajectories of Japanese colonialism and transpacific migrant experience and of modern Japanese history and Japanese American history. Constructed during the 1930s, expansionist orthodoxy of imperial Japan justified and idealized the agricultural colonization of Manchuria on the basis of historical precedence found in a contrived chronicle of Japanese “overseas development” in the American frontier. This study documents how Japanese intelligentsia, popular culture, and the state concertedly co-opted U.S. Japanese immigrant history in service of the policies of imperial expansion and national mobilization in Asia before the Pacific War. While involving conflicting agendas and interests between the colonial metropolis in imperial Japan and the expatriate society in the American West, the example of transnational history making elucidates borderless dimensions of prewar Japanese colonialism, which influenced, and was concurrently influenced by, the presence and practices of Japanese emigrants across the Pacific.
Looking back on the two years at Keisen Girls' School, I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been able to study here…. Our teachers have taught us that it was mistaken if we simply aspired to mimic the ways of Japanese woman. Cognizant of our special position as Americans of Japanese ancestry, we must instead strive to promote the U.S.-Japan friendship. Furthermore, we must adapt the merits of the Japanese spirit [that we have acquired here] to our Americanism. Back in the United States, we will dedicate ourselves to the good of our own society as best possible citizens, cooperating with Americans of other races and learning from each other…. Such is the mission of the Nisei as a bridge between Japan and the United States—one that we have come to appreciate [through our schooling in Japan].
Just about two years before Pearl Harbor, a young Japanese American woman took this pledge to herself when she completed a special study program in Tokyo, Japan. Although the shadow of war loomed increasingly over the Pacific, thousands of American-born Japanese (Nisei) youth like her flocked to their parents' native land during the 1930s to pursue cultural and language learning, as well as formal secondary and higher education. In any given year following 1932, an estimated 1,500 young Nisei students from North America resided in Tokyo and other urban areas of Japan. Often referred to as Kibei after returning to their native land, these young women and men attempted to embrace their ethnic heritage and identity during their sojourn in Japan with the support of Japanese educators.
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